21.01 Last Day – Free day

 

Today was the last full day at the station. It was our only free day of the week so we all had slightly different plans for the day. Some ventured out to the market center of Voi, some stayed closer and explored the market of Wundanyi and a few climbed Yale hill. The morning started out misty and relaxed as we hung out at the station and waited for our trip out to Wundanyi market.

Fog hangs over the Taita research station

A small group of us went with the lovely kitchen’s assistant chef, Phenny, and bought some deras, a type of African dress that many of the local women wear, and many other souvenirs and gifts to bring back home. We enjoyed the time we spent with Phenny and the local insight that she provided on the area.

The Wundanyi market
Many buildings around Taita-Taveta County were painted yellow with an ad for the Kenyan bread brand, SupaLoaf. This was a restaurant that sold fish in Wundanyi.

After our time in the market, we returned to the station in the afternoon and walked 3 km to visit Darius’ farm. Darius welcomed us to his home and gave us a tour of the different crops and fruits growing on his land. He has a wide variety of plants, vegetables and fruits growing, some of which I had never seen before. He has an ancient variety of pineapples, tomato trees, irish potatoes, wild bananas, and so much more. Perhaps what was most interesting, however, was his circular manure-handling system that not only produces an organic fertilizer for his crops, but also biogas with which he is able to meet about 60% of the cooking needs for his family.

Tomatoes that grow on trees!
Ancient pineapple varieties; smaller, harder, and mature slower. Great for conservation!
Beneath this pipe is a large tank in the ground where cow manure is deposited and fermented to create biogas.
Darius explaining the physical layout of the farm

Our final dinner followed at the station, with some nice and, at times, amusing final remarks from Petri. He addressed each of us individually and thanked us for our participation in the course. It provided for a satisfying conclusion to our course and dinner. The night ended with some loud sing-alongs on the balcony of the Kasigau house.

I think all of us feel quite lucky to have been able to participate in this course. The employees at the station made all of us feel at home and my fellow students gave me lots of laughs and memorable times in Taita. We had unforgettable experiences from the lowlands of the savannah to the very top of Mt. Kasigau. I hope I am able to visit the lovely county of Taita-Taveta again, as well as reunite with the people I met there. Asante sana, Taita.

The soothing shade of banana leaves

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